Lessons learned from trying to learn from people’s lessons.

Photo by Debbie Markham Dishes in sinkWhenever I speak with older people, I hear the same message “If I could go back in time, I’d clean house less and follow my dreams to be a “fill in the blank”….. and travel more too.

Last week, my ex-husband took my kids on a 9 day vacation. That meant I had 9 days to get more organized, back up all my photography files, clear off memory cards and finish up a few jobs.  I could tinker with new recipes, take longer runs, and focus on setting up my new photography studio. I was going to make some strides in my career and visit with friends out of town.

I took action on all the advice I’d been given from my grandmother and many older friends.  I practiced “letting go” of the housework, and focused on letting myself get drawn into my work and play. I allowed myself to follow where I was being tugged and dove in. Researching all night a few times was invigorating, scouring the internet for backdrops, new software and new photography equipment, testing demos, reading reviews. I brainstormed marketing brochures and actually had fun organizing my tax information, reminiscing how I’d spent money last year. Running for 1.5 hours and doing Yoga was also a treat, instead of barely squeezing in a workout.

Finally, the day before they arrived home, I wiped down the countertops and tables in a hurried, excited way. I also unloaded the clean dishwasher from 8 days ago, and loaded it with the rinsed mound in the sink that had been growing taller all week.

And the lesson I learned is that you really can’t avoid housework, unless you’re prepared to be disgusted with slimy, smelly water. As much as I’d like to tout that I was rinsing off the used plates and bowls each day, I learned that partial rinsing is not good enough for a weeks worth of stacking, and that a 9”x13” baking pan is not a good choice for the bottom since it held all the yucky water.

The other thing I learned is that if you do wait, and can accept the odd smells, you really can consider this activity a “Core” workout. My back and abs got a darn good workout unloading and loading “back to back,” then washing pots and pans for 20 minutes straight!

Here’s what’s taped to my computer base:  Life is short.  Have no regrets.  Adjust as you go.

So, I’ve adjusted my expectations and I’m interested to see if I’ll adjust my balance next time!

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